Buckley About "postulates" in Iraq: It didn't work
WFB and unhappy friends
The founder of the National Review and author of horrible fiction has concluded that One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed He discusses the Bush Administration's "postulates" in Iraq, "postualte" being according to the dictionary, "something assumed without proof as being self-evident or generally accepted, especially when used as a basis for an argument."
A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.
One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.
The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.
This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail — in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.
So now we have to try to promote "something assumed without proof as being self-evident or generally accepted, especially when used as a basis for an argument" in some other part of the world?